Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Prelate, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Dr Ekpenyong Akpanika, has solicited prayers for victims of banditry, terrorism and wars.
The Prelate who made the call in his Christmas message decried the harsh economic situation in Nigeria and woes of humanity which he likened to darkness that Prophet Jeremiah envisaged when he prophesied about the birth of Jesus.
He, however, urged Nigerians not to give up yet despite the prevailing economic hardship, predicting a brighter future.
Rev. Akpanika in the message signed by the Director of Information and Public Affairs, Rev. Dr Nnoke Ibe, said that the birth of Jesus symbolised the entrance of light into the dark world and hopelessness of man.
“Here in Nigeria, negative economic factors are driving families into poverty while lives continue to remain unsafe as a result of insecurity. The uncertainties pervading the world today can be symbolically described as a form of darkness.
“But we are eternally grateful to God for dispersing this night of darkness with the light of eternal day.
“As we celebrate Christmas today, we are forced to acknowledge with regret that many cannot share the same joy and hope because they find themselves in areas of conflicts.
“The war between Ukraine and Russia is still raging while Israel and Hamas are yet to find a common ground for permanent détente between them.
“Many are still suffering from hunger and deprivation while refugees and other displaced people are living under desperate conditions all over the world.
“There is still hope for humanity and there is still hope for Nigeria. Christmas symbolises this hope. Jesus came into the world to save humanity from sin and its consequences which is separation from God and the foreboding prospect of eternal condemnation in Hell.”
“Jesus Christ came to restore hope, bring peace to earth and foster goodwill among men and women.”
His message further read: “In our celebrations, let us remember Nigeria in our prayers that God will intervene in such a way that our pains and disappointments will be lifted.
“In the quietness of our hearts, let us remember those families which cannot celebrate with us because of one difficulty or another; whose spirit of celebration has been curtailed by economic difficulties.
“Let us remember and pray for them and also for those displaced by the actions of bandits from the comfort of their homes. May we remember and pray for those in the areas of conflict who cannot celebrate Christmas because of their painful and desperate conditions.
“As we celebrate, may we remember to share even from our meagre possessions so that someone will see in us the face of a loving Father and the touch of a benevolent God.”
“This Christmas, I pray that God will remove every darkness in your life and replace it with the light of God’s glory. You have dwelt too long in the night of despair and hopelessness; I therefore declare that you enter your day of joy and celebrations.”
“I pray that the coming year will bring better report for you, your family and the entire nation. I pray that no one will die before their time as a result of accidents, illness and other adverse situations. I pray that divine mercy and grace will find you this Christmas and in the coming year 2024.”